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Imaging Parkinson's

From Chicago, Ill., at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America

Scientists in Ireland report that a new brain-imaging technique can supply proof of Parkinson's disease in people whose symptoms fall short of the standard definition of the disease.

The researchers recruited volunteers with only minor muscle tremors, says study coauthor David J. Tuite of the Adelaide and Meade Hospital in Dublin.

The scientists gave each patient a double-acting infusion. It contained a compound called ioflupane that binds to brain tissue that's producing dopamine–the neurotransmitter lacking in Parkinson's patients. The compound was tagged with an isotope that temporarily gives off gamma rays detectable by a special kind of computerized tomography (CT) scanner. After a person received the infusion, a scan indicated overall dopamine production.

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